Capitalism, Welfare Regime and Intimate Sphere: Towards a New Theoretical Framework

Friday, 20 July 2018: 18:15
Oral Presentation
Sebastien LECHEVALIER, EHESS, France
Emiko OCHIAI, Dept. of Sociology, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
The goal of this theoretical paper is to integrate three frameworks that are formally separated in different disciplines: studies on the diversity of capitalism, on welfare regimes, and on the intimate sphere as a site for carework. The latter two frameworks aim at clarifying the mechanisms of human reproduction and their cost(s), a domain, which has been often ignored by research on the diversity of capitalism.

More precisely, the starting point of our effort is offered by the Régulation theory, a form of historical institutionalism that explain the diversity in time and in space of socio-economic dynamics through the concepts of institutional complementarities and hierarchy. However, as explained in previous works (see for example Arai & Lechevalier, 2005), a weakness of this framework is the lack of understanding of human reproduction, mainly because of difficulty in dealing with gender and family issues. This is why our major intention is to employ some key concepts from the work of Ochiai (see for example Ochiai et al., 2014) that shares with the Régulation theory a historical perspective.

Our strategy is to consider gender as an institution - at the same level than the wage labor nexus, the state or forms of competition - that determines both the regulation mode and the conditions of reproduction, mainly the demographic dynamics. Moreover, as Régulation theory is eminently situated and never proposes a theory that would be true in any point of the time and the space, we aim at explaining post-fordist and post-familialist dynamics in Europe and in Asia. We thus explain the formation of new political-social blocks has led to the reform of social protection schemes, with the objective to cover new emerging risks that the family or the firm are no more able/willing to cover.